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Cactus Membership Café and the legislation of Wining & Eating

Wine on table A&A liquor law

Think about this: you and a date go to a restaurant and order a bottle of wine when you catch-up, contemplate the menus, and benefit from the atmosphere. After the higher a part of two hours, however earlier than ordering and consuming any meals, you order a second bottle of wine.

Is that this a completely innocuous and unremarkable occasion? Or is it a violation of the Phrases and Situations which are hooked up to all Meals Major Liquor Licences in British Columbia, and warrants the licensee struggling a financial penalty within the quantity of $1,000 or a licence suspension of sooner or later?

Until you’re a first time reader of Alcohol & Advocacy, you in all probability already know the place that is going….

The Info

In Re Cactus Membership Café (Byrne Street), the Liquor and Hashish Regulation Department alleged that on November 19, 2021, the Cactus Membership situated at 7320 Market Crossing in Burnaby didn’t adjust to the Phrases and Situations of its Meals Major Licence by “offering a buyer with a single drink serving bigger than the utmost measurement specified within the Phrases and Situations”. Extra particularly, the Department alleged that two patrons have been served two customary bottles of wine (750ml every) with out additionally being served meals, as required. There was no suggestion of over-service or intoxication.

The Phrases and Situations, conveniently set out in a handbook that may be discovered right here, apply to all Meals Major Liquor Licences in British Columbia and prescribe most drink sizes for the aim of encouraging “average consumption” always. The utmost serving for wine is the usual 750ml bottle, “so long as it’s consumed by a minimum of two individuals and with meals”.

Cactus Membership disputed the cost.  On the listening to held in Might 2022, Cactus Membership led proof that the patrons in query did in truth order and have been served meals and due to this fact there was no contravention of the Phrases and Situations.

As the choice of the Common Supervisor’s Delegate reveals, liquor legislation (like life itself) is all about timing….

The proof accepted by the choice maker was as follows. On the night of November 19, 2021 (a Friday no much less) at 7 pm, two feminine patrons entered the Cactus Membership and ordered and acquired a normal bottle of wine. The patrons have been supplied with menus within the common course however didn’t order any meals at the moment. Between 7 and eight:40 pm, the server returned to the desk from time-to-time to inquire concerning the patrons’ meals order, however the patrons deferred ordering meals whereas indicating their future intention to take action.

At about 8:40 pm, the patrons ordered a second bottle of wine however nonetheless didn’t order any meals. Their server continued to investigate about meals. The choice maker accepted that the server believed the patrons’ statements that they meant to order meals.

At 10:15pm, two liquor inspectors carried out a routine inspection of the institution. They noticed the patrons seated at a desk with a bottle of wine however no signal of any meals having been served to them. The inspectors conferred with the supervisor on obligation and obtained a replica of the patrons’ invoice which confirmed that over a timeframe of roughly 3 hours and 19 minutes, the friends had been served two bottles of wine however no meals.

The inspectors have been of the opinion that meals ought to have been served with the primary bottle of wine however that in any occasion the second bottle of wine mustn’t have been served with out meals being ordered. The inspectors suggested the supervisor that as a result of meals had not but been served to the patrons the utmost drink measurement set out within the Phrases and Situations had been exceeded. The supervisor’s place was that the patrons’ eating expertise had not but ended so the alleged contravention couldn’t have crystallized.

Subsequent to the inspectors leaving the premises, the patrons ordered meals (one order of spicy rooster) and left the institution at roughly 12:50 am.


The Department asserted that Cactus Membership, by serving two bottles of wine earlier than serving meals, contravened the necessities set out within the Phrases and Situations to each encourage moderation and to not exceed the utmost drink measurement. Its place was that meals must be served with the bottle of wine. Although the ordering and consuming of the meals could occur at any level in the course of the consumption of the wine – it should however occur throughout this window of time, and at a minimal earlier than the second bottle of wine is served.

Cactus Membership’s place was that as a result of the Phrases and Situations don’t specify when the meals have to be ordered, as long as the meals is ordered sooner or later in the course of the service, the utmost drink measurement is just not exceeded. On this case always the server understood that the patrons meant to order meals, they usually did in truth order meals. On this foundation, neither the service of the primary nor the second bottle of wine exceed the utmost drink measurement.


The Common Supervisor’s Delegate acknowledged that the Phrases and Situations don’t set out an specific time inside which meals should accompany the service of a bottle of wine, however the language is obvious that the wine have to be consumed with meals.

Bearing in mind the rules of statutory interpretation, and extra particularly how an affordable and knowledgeable licensee is anticipated to interpret and apply the Phrases and Situations, the Delegate concluded that one bottle of wine could also be ordered and served to 2 patrons previous to meals being ordered by them, however the patrons’ intention to order meals have to be ascertained and well timed inquiries made for that to happen. This occurred with respect to service of the primary bottle of wine. Nevertheless, previous to service of a second bottle of wine the patrons should really order meals in order that it’s out there to be consumed with the wine.

The acknowledged intent of the patrons that meals will finally be ordered, and the subjective perception of their server, is just not ample. The choice maker held that to search out in any other case would, in impact, ignore the requirement for a bottle of wine to be consumed with meals and render the restriction meaningless.

The choice maker discovered the contravention as alleged to have been confirmed and ordered a $1,000 financial penalty to be payable by Cactus Membership and that it put up in a distinguished location inside the institution signage indicating {that a} financial penalty has been imposed.

Re Cactus Membership is a vital one for licensees and managers to evaluation with their employees. Not solely was Cactus Membership fined for a violation of its licence, however it additionally didn’t succesfully advance a due diligence defence. May this have occurred in your institution?

Dan Coles and the opposite attorneys at Owen Hen have vital expertise within the liquor legislation and hospitality sector. Please give us a name if we might be of help to your or your operations.

*Alcohol & Advocacy publishes articles for data functions solely. They don’t seem to be an alternative choice to authorized recommendation, and individuals requiring such recommendation ought to seek the advice of authorized counsel

Dan Coles

Retired bartender. Younger lawyer. From the East, dwelling within the West. Thinking about British Columbia’s producers and purveyors of wine, beer and spirits.



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